Thursday
December 14, 2017

Key Massa ally backs change

Friday, September 6, 2013

BA Governor Scioli divides justice, security ministry

By Luciana Bertoia
Herald Staff

Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli led a major shake up in his administration yesterday as part of an increased focus on crime in the run-up to the mid-term elections, separating the Security and Justice Ministry into two separate entities.

The official who was in charge of the ministry that was split into two, Ricardo Casal, was appointed Justice Minister, while Ezeiza Mayor Alejandro Granados will be assigned to the Security ministry.

In a political rally held in Berazategui, Buenos Aires province, Scioli made the formal announcement that effectively undoes a decision he had taken in 2010 when he joined the two ministries. The move sets up a hierarchy for crime control, which has been one of his main campaign issues and has long been described as the top concern of voters.

Jorge D’Onofrio, a key ally of Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa, the main opponent to Kirchnerism in the elections, came out to support Scioli’s move. D’Onofrio, the chairman of the provincial Senate Security Committee yesterday told the Herald that Granados could improve the relationship between mayors and the provincial Executive.

“The governor’s changes show that they are following our agenda,” D’Onofrio added.

Scioli will be submitting the bill to the Legislature because he needs the approval of lawmakers to split up an existing ministry.

The decision came days after Security Minister Arturo Puricelli had announced that more than 4,000 Border Guards would be deployed in Greater Buenos Aires province.

“We are reorganizing due to the need to improve work on the judicial system and crime control. That’s why I have decided to create two ministries,” Scioli explained yesterday while he unveiled new patrol cars for Berazategui.

The governor said he selected the Ezeiza mayor for his experience and requested Casal to focus on the implementation of several reforms to the judicial system, including trials by jury.

In 2010, Scioli decided to create the Justice and Security Ministry and appointed Casal as the man in charge of both areas, taking him away from the Justice Ministry that he will now rejoin.

“As officials from the three branches of the state, we are responsible for articulating crime control. Casal is a very respected man in the judiciary, and he will work hand in hand with judges and prosecutors, which is what we need right now,” the governor highlighted.

Provincial senators are discussing a law that establishes trials by jury for cases investigating serious offences, such as murder or rape.

NEW FACE FOR AN OLD RECIPE?

Granados has been Ezeiza mayor for 18 years. He is the owner of the restaurant El Mangrullo, located in Ezeiza, which is considered a symbol of the Menemist years, and is said to have been a close friend of former presidents Carlos Menem and Eduardo Duhalde, but then he managed to become a Kirchnerite ally.

“I’ll do what I have to do,” Granados said minutes after learning of his appointment, declaring to be a supporter of “taking police to the streets.”

When asked by a journalist if he believed that crime was a “feeling,” he said that he had no doubts that it was a “real problem” because he had suffered it himself.

Granados opened fire against three burglars who broke into his home in 1999, and wounded one of them. He made a statement supporting the use of weapons and said: “I wish I had hit them.”

“I can’t say much about Granados, I don’t know what his credentials are when it comes to security,” former provincial Security Minister León Arslanián told the Herald yesterday.

“I know that while he was at the town hall he was worried about the issue, that he was investing money in technology and patrol cars, but I do not know of his proficiency,” he added.

As a human rights lawyer explained to the Herald and as reported by journalist Horacio Verbitsky in 2002, Granados was indirectly linked to the murder of Hugo Javier Barrionuevo, a young activist killed by Jorge Bogado, a political operative allegedly working for Granados.

During those years, Granados launched a programme called “Zero Tolerance”, which included permanent monitoring and police officers working overtime to patrol the streets.

@LucianaBertoia

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